The Market for Cashew Nuts in India

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  • Topic: Cashew, Anacardiaceae, Fruit
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  • Published : December 13, 2012
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Market Brief 2005

The Market for Cashew Nuts In India


THE MARKET FOR CASHEW NUTS IN INDIA A. PRODUCT DESCRIPTION This market Brief covers the Indian market for Cashew nut classified under the code below HS 080131 Cashew nuts (Fresh or dried, in shell)

The cashew, Anacardium occidentale L., belongs to Anacardiacea or cashew family. Other important plants of this family are the mango (Mangifera indica) and the pistachio nut (Pistacia vera). Cashew trees, which may live for thirty to forty years, start bearing fruit in the third or fourth year. They grow in warm regions, with an annual rainfall of 1,000 to 3,000 mm, mainly in Central and South America, Asia and Africa. Native from Brazil, the cashew trees were planted in India in the 16th century to prevent soil erosion. Easily cultivated, they require little care and produce an annual average of 50 to 75 kg of apples and nuts per tree, yielding approximately 3 kg of cashew kernels. Cashew nuts are available for trading from March through June. SHELF LIFE OF THE RAW NUTS The nuts may be kept for about a year provided they are properly dried immediately after harvesting (maximum moisture 9%) and properly stored to prevent mould. Usually the nuts are sun dried and constantly turned over for several days until the kernels rattle in the shell. After drying they must be roasted to remove the cashew nut shell liquid CNSL, which contains poisonous compounds. In India, the traditional processing consisting of roasting the raw nuts, then shelling by hand is largely being replaced by a process of steam cooking the nuts and opening them with manually operated cutting machines. This modern steam cooking method reduces the percentage of broken kernels. Nevertheless, it is difficult to shell and peel the testa mechanically due to the shape of the cashew nut and the brittleness of the kernel. The cashew tree produces fruit and a by-product: the nutshell oil. The fruit consists of two parts: a pear-shaped stalk called the cashew “apple” and a greyish-brown kidney-shaped nut (HS 0801.31), which is attached to the lower end of the apple and contains a slightly curved white kernel (HS 0801.32), wrapped in a thin brown skin or testa , sizes of which are measured in counts of


between 180-240. The nutshell, which is smooth and oily, contains a toxic, resinous material from which is obtained the CNSL. The cashew kernel is the main commercial product of the cashew tree. The kernel, which is the edible part of the nut, contains 47% fat (of which 87% are unsaturated fatty acids); 21% protein, 22% carbohydrates, and the remaining 10% made up of other substances including calcium, phosphorus, iron and various vitamins, the main ones being A, D and E. The cashew kernel has a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, in particular linoleic acid, and is an important source of sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, copper, zinc, chlorine and selenium. According to medical sources, cashew nuts may help to lower the cholesterol level in blood and to control diabetes. OTHER PRODUCTS FROM THE CASHEW NUTS The cashew nuts can be consumed as roasted and salted, or used as an ingredient in confectionery and bakery products such as sweets, ice creams, cakes and chocolates. The technical yield of processing is 0.21. That is to say, every metric ton of raw nuts gives 210kg of processed cashew kernel plus 7% of cashew nuts shell liquid (CNSL).

Health Attributes Cashews are nature’s proven finest diet, an all time all place snack. It is a storehouse of nutrients as already indicated. Eating nuts can be very beneficial as long as they replace other foods and are not just added to the diet. The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid graphically presents the kind of foods that consumers can choose on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It groups nuts with fruits, vegetables and legumes as part of a healthy daily diet. This placement better reflects the...
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